The Power and Paradox of Forgiveness

Sermon by Rev. Robin Meyers, Mayflower Congregational Church

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ProgressiveChristianity.org’s Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you believe in God?

Robin Meyers is Senior Minister of the Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!

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Getting Old or Getting Better?

Our culture over values youth and devalues those who are elderly, bringing us to a point where the suicide rate is rapidly growing among those over 85. We must accept that while the mortality rate is 100%, there are qualities that are of value to every stage of life. We must always bear in mind the “why” we have for living even when the “how” of life is challenging.

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Spiritual AND Religious

A sermon for Pentecost 12B – John 6:35,41-51

Bread, Bread, Bread, the gospel according to John: “I am the bread of life. I am the bread that came down from heaven. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, and if you eat it you’ll never die. I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. If any eat this bread they will live forever.” Bread, Bread, Bread, for five weeks in a row, preachers all over the world are doing our darnedest to serve up Jesus as the bread of life, bread for the world, bread that comes down from heaven, bread that provides eternal life. Bread, Bread, Bread. I who am not supposed to be letting bread pass my lips; I have been called upon to create sermons that will satisfy the lectionary’s insistence that we gorge ourselves on words and images which offer up Jesus as bread for the world.

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How can we change the world

New lyrics to the tune Jerusalem.

New lyrics to the tune Jerusalem.

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Why We’re Still Here

The Emerging Church held its first service 10 years ago today. The progressive movement is largely comprised of small, liberal, academically oriented congregations who are committed to expressing their faith in passionate social justice involvement. To make it to the 10 year mark in very conservative Springfield, MO is reason for celebration!

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From Common Sense to an Age of Reason

The progressive faith movement has deep roots in the 19th century in the writings of Voltaire, in France, and Thomas Paine, in the United States. Paine foresaw that a revolution in favor of democracy would lead directly into a revolution in religious beliefs and practices. Three major periods of revivals in America has kept evangelical faith alive in America while France moved more decidedly in the direction of a more secular approach to life. Still, Paine’s “Common Sense” inspired the birth of democracy in the USA and it led to his writing of “Age of Reason” to encourage religion to focus on moral living and to dismiss creedal or doctrinal theology. What we modern progressives call the primacy of orthopraxy over orthodoxy. Rather than beliefs about heaven, hell, salvation, and invisible beings, progressives believe in freedom, justice, equality, and working for the wellbeing and happiness of all.

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San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral’s Beyoncé Mass

Finding God at a Beyoncé Mass

Beyoncé is undeniably the most powerful force in pop culture. So it makes sense that someone decided to bring her music and philosophy into church, where it belongs.

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Eternal NOW! — BRUNCHtalks4

Can a first century understanding of Hell and Heaven free Christianity from its obsession with the next life and our cultural nonsense about heaven and hell? Exploring a progressive approach to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth opens us to a Way of being in the world that is eternal now. Our BRUNCHtalks continue to explore what it means to be “Progressive in Approach: Christ-Like in action!”

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Pride

It is obviously and indisputably true that “all lives matter.” However, this statement of the obvious, and its cousin, “blue lives matter,” are used to dismiss, shout down, or reject the “black lives matter” movement. No heterosexual ever had to pretend to be gay in order to be accepted at family gatherings, job interviews, or as school. We have gay pride weekends because every weekend is a heterosexual pride weekend. We have a Black History month because every month is a white history month. Black people are trying to explain what it means to be black in America in the 21st century and before we offer any replies at all, we white folks probably need to just shut up and listen.

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In This Life

While hiding in the failed hope of evading murder at the hands of the Nazis, Ann Frank was able to write in her diary that she believed that people were basically good and that peace would return to the world. This is a helpful statement of faith now that we are living through a dangerously turbulent time that threatens to see a return to fascism in countries that have formerly loved democracy. This season of history will pass and perhaps, if we are patient and compassionate, we can help it to pass a bit more quickly.

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Love, please. Love please. Please, love. Please love.

I am doing my part as I am certain you are doing yours. And, the state of the world right now requires us to double down and do more. So, let us pepper the world in a myriad of small, little, unsexy ways of being more loving, compassionate, caring, long-suffering, kind, humble, gentle, virtuous?

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BRUNCHtalks2 – Progressive in Approach

Whenever we try to articulate what God IS, language fails us. For the most part, the institutional church has defined God with words and expected that members of the institution will confess loyalty to those words. Many of the words, with which the institution has traditionally described God, craft an image of God as a supernatural being up there or out there who is responsible for creation and from time to time interferes in the workings of creation. As we continue to learn more and more about the magnitude of creation, both in time and space, our traditional words about God seem even more puny. While some respond to our ever-expanding knowledge about creation by attempting to make our notions of God fit into the tight little containers that were crafted by our ancestors, some are seeking new ways to speak of the CREATOR OF ALL THAT IS, WAS OR EVER SHALL BE. How might a progressive approach to religion enable us to expand our images of the Divine MYSTERY?

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Escape from Suffering

The 4 noble truths of Buddhism provide an path out of the suffering that defines human existence. Seeking the middle way is a spiritual goal that should be familiar to persons of all faith backgrounds, helping us to find a healthy way through a culture that is always pushed towards the extremes of consumerism, hoarding, addiction, pornography, and partisan bickering.

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An American Creed

There have been visionary voices in America throughout our history (Jefferson, Paine, Whitman, Emerson, Sojourner Truth, Douglas, Thoreau) who described America in terms of equality, freedom, justice, and civil rights, and even though the vision has never been entirely realized we have made a lot of progress on many fronts, progress that is, very regrettably, presently at grave risk of being lost. Now is no time for progressive thinkers to consider international escape or domestic surrender. Now is a time when people who are spiritually awake must stand and fight (through voting, demonstrations, protests, and possibly . . . revolution) to defend a vision of America about which we can be honestly patriotic.

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Wake Up Jeezus! Wake Up!

Mark 4:35-41

The raging storms are all around us. Racism, poverty, disease, and violence; four winds that howl so ferociously that all we can hear is the sound of people’s fears as we see the very real possibility that the bottom might just fall out of the small craft we have fashioned to navigate the troubled waters that lie ahead.

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Because We Are All Connected

3 things: 1) We are all connected. 2) All partisan, racial, gender, religious, and national divisions are forms of deception and manipulation. 3) Spiritual people want to remain meaningfully engaged in changing the world without becoming a part of the problem. We may rise above the fray and maintain our centered and sane peace.

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Moon-Walking Bears, Jesus and Nicodemus: a sermon on John 3:1-17

I am indebted to Jim Kast-Keat, a pioneering preacher who inspired me to open this sermon with the video below. I am also indebted to Bishop John Shelby Spong for teaching me more that I can articulate with words. His excellent book The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic opened the Gospel According to John in ways that have helped me to see aspects of the Divine to which I was once blind. Much of the sermon consists of extensive quotes from chapter 9 of Jack’s book.

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